Robin de Voh
writer, developer, nerd

Nanoprep 2020 Day 4: Rain

By Robin de Voh on 2020-10-08

Time to do some work, but not at home, he had decided. He went through the front door and started his music by hitting a button on his headphones. He looked outside through the window in his apartment's hallway and saw that it wasn't raining that much. Nice, even if the day had been sunny and blue skies only hours before.

He checked whether he had his laptop in his backpack, felt that it was there, and smiled. He pulled the front door closed and turned around towards the staircase, when he realized something. He checked his pockets. Shit.

His keys.

He turned back to the door, hand outstretched, but he already knew the bad news. The door did not have a handle on both sides, so he was locked out. He stood there for about 10 seconds, quiet, still, mind racing through options.

"Oh well," he eventually said and turned around to go outside. If he didn't have his keys there was no reason to stick around here either. He was still thinking about what his options were, of course, but at a rather chill pace. No point in stressing about what currently is a done deal. Focus on the fix, not the problem, he told himself.

Call the landlord? They would have 3 of the 4 keys he was missing, because he'd been smart and replaced one of the locks with one the landlord didn't have the key for. When he'd just moved out of his parent's place, over 15 years ago, he'd once been woken up by his then landlord storming into his rented room, and that had taught him all the lessons he needed about preventing that from ever happening again. He hadn't been alone in there either. It had been awkward.

But even if they replaced the locks, that would take a few hours at least for someone to come over, and since it was a Saturday, perhaps even longer. He had to admit he had no idea what hours locksmiths worked, though.

Then he remembered another very smart lock-related thing he'd done. Years ago, when he moved into this apartment, he'd given one of the two full sets of keys to a friend of his, just in case something ever happened. Something like this, or something like he'd been dead for a week and they wondered where he was. In either case, it had seemed like a good idea.

He called his friend.

"So, I locked myself out."
"Ah, that sucks, man. You really can't get in?"
"No, it's one of those doors that you always need a key for from the outside."
"Crap. What are you going to do now?"
"Well, I was hoping you'd help," he said to his friend.
"Uhh, I'm not that good at lockpicking, actually. I just picked up the hobby a few weeks ago."
"Wait, you're learning how to lockpick?"
"Yeah, I thought it was interesting. Wait, you didn't know? Then why are you calling me?"
"You've got my spare set of keys, dude!"

It went quiet at the other side of the line.

"Holy shit, you're right! That's years ago, wow. Let me go find them!"

About 5 minutes later his friend had found what he thought were the right keys and sent a photo of them to verify. They were the right keys! All 4 of them! They agreed to meet up halfway and his friend hung up.

Then he realized he couldn't use his bicycle since his bike key was also on his regular keychain. Which was inside. Behind locks. Ugh.

With a sigh he looked up the route for walking to be as efficient as possible, and set off. The rain had started to pick up a little so he pulled the hood of his sweater over his headphones and set off, walking as quickly as possible, trying to get through the rain without getting soaked.

A very brisk 10 minute walk later, he saw his friend in the distance. Of course HE was on his bicycle and not nearly as wet as he was.

"Hey man, here's your keys."
"Thanks," he said, grabbing them from his hand.
"I gotta go immediately again, but let me know if it all works out."
"Sure, thanks!" he said as his friend turned and cycled off again.

As he made his way back the rain doubled, and he figured he could just walk a bit brisker. Then it doubled in amount again and he started to doubt how well this was going to go. He thought about his laptop in his bag and remembered that he'd forgotten the waterproof sleeve for it. Worried, he pulled his backpack underneath his arm and continued walking. When the rain decided to get yet worse, he looked around and saw a regular bar of his.

"Fuck it, I'm hiding from this," he muttered to himself and turned 90 degrees, straight for the bar.

He walked in, drenched, his backpack mostly dry, and let his shoulders drop. He sighed with relief that he was out of the rain.

"You good?" the bartender said with a raised eyebrow. They'd known each for a few years by now.
"Yeah, just... Not my day, that's all."
"So... Beer?"
"Yeah, please."

He walked over to a table far from other people and sat down, putting his backpack on the chair next to him. He immediately checked whether his laptop was dry, and thankfully it seemed to be. He also checked his notebooks and they seemed to have remained dry as well. Lucky break, he thought to himself.

The bartender came over and put the beer down. "On the house," the bartender added with a grin.

He nodded and took a sip. Beer hadn't tasted this good in a while. Like a reward for having his keys -- sorta, he had keys that worked like his -- and nothing in his backpack having drowned.

Then he looked around, outside, saw the rain, looked to his beer and his laptop, and figured this wasn't where he had planned to be, but it would do.

So he opened up his laptop, started the application he usually writes his stories in, and wrote this story.

He's on his second beer now and he's a lot happier again.

That moment I realized that yes, my door was closed, but no, I did not have my keys shut off my brain for 10 seconds for real. This one's 99.5% true. What a day.